Digital Scholarly Editions of Alchemical Texts as Tools for Interpretation


Digital Scholarly Editions commonly provide annotations and visualization tools for Named Entities, dates or basic quantitative text analysis using methods based on bags of words and word counting. This paper argues that such methods are not enough to provide meaningful insight into texts from the history of science and alchemy especially, using two case studies from the alchemical texts by iatrochymist Michael Maier (1568-1622). A custom-made method for the interpretation of alchemical terms is presented which relies on the polyvalent semantic annotation of relevant yet ambiguous alchemical Decknamen and the analysis of their semantic contexts using a digital knowledge organization system.

In Helmut Klug and Roman Bleier (eds.): Digitale Edition in Österreich
Sarah A. Lang
Sarah A. Lang
Digital Humanities researcher

My research interests include leveraging Computational Humanities for the historiography of Alchemy and Chymistry. I am the author of the blog LaTeX Ninja’ing and the Digital Humanities.